News Article

PlayStation Now Streams Software to Multiple Screens This Summer

Posted by Sammy Barker

PlayStation Wow

Sony may not have announced its rumoured virtual reality headset during its CES 2014 briefing earlier today, but it pulled back the curtain on PlayStation Now instead. Confirmed by group president Andrew House during Kaz Hirai’s absorbing keynote, the streaming service will launch this summer in North America, and will enter open beta at the end of the month.

Previously named Gaikai, the technology will allow you to stream PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, and PSone content on a multitude of different devices. The platform holder promises to demonstrate The Last of Us and Beyond: Two Souls running on both PlayStation Vita handsets and Bravia televisions on the CES showfloor this week.

You’ll be able to rent individual games or stump up for a Netflix-esque subscription that will give you on-demand access to the platform holder’s back catalogue. The service will support all of the core functionality that you’d expect, include online gaming and Trophies where applicable. Additional details will be rolled out over the coming weeks.

The platform holder acquired Earthworm Jim creator David Perry’s game streaming service back in July 2012, and has worked with the company on features such as Remote Play in the interim. While the abovementioned PlayStation Now service will start life on consoles, the platform holder pledges that in the long-term you’ll be able to access your games on any handset, wherever you are.

User Comments (49)



moomoo said:

If this means I can play The Last of US on my Vita then I'm super-duper happy.



ztpayne7 said:

I wonder how quickly games will be rolled out. And will it be just playstation games (first/second party?) or will third party games be playable?



get2sammyb said:

@ztpayne7 All a teensy bit vague at the moment. It's announced now, though, and the beta's happening really soon, so we should start hearing things immimently.



InsertNameHere said:

So I'll be able to play Dragonball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi 3 on my PS4/Vita? Or is it just exclusives?



Xaessya said:

Does that mean we can't buy and own the games and we have to rent it and pay a monthly fee?



ztpayne7 said:

Gotcha. What would be a reasonable internet connection to run a game like that?



get2sammyb said:

@Tsuzura Well, Sony's not going to stop selling disc-based games. This will just be another option for you to access content.



ZeD said:

This is something I will invest in! I already pay £13 a month for game rentals so if it is close to that then I am sold!!



ShogunRok said:

All depends on how much the subscription is, then. But if this is the game equivalent of Netflix, then it could be huge.



irken004 said:

I was hoping it'd be included with PS+, maybe there will be a discount on subscriptions if you have PS+




@ztpayne7 I think we'll be looking at recent first party games first, and anything that's in the classics line or available on PSN already. I'd expect the line ups to be reminiscent of what's available on PSN region by region, as dictated by available licensing.



get2sammyb said:

@ShogunRok I agree. I think it depends on the quality of the service, too, though. I don't expect the beta rollout to go swimmingly straight away - this is even more complicated than movie streaming, as there are inputs involved.

However, I used to pay about £15/month for LoveFilm. If this is priced similarly and actually works, I would happily stump up for it.




As for the service itself, I can see the PlayStations coping quite well, but we'll see. Onlive was pretty shoddy when I tried it on my Xperia Play, and on my PC, and later on my note 2. Haven't even bothered trying it on my Z1.

The issue with streaming to phones and tablets (android ones anyway) as Sammy said, is the input lag. With usb connections and bluetooth connections I'm yet to play an android game with a controller that doesn't have discernable input lag.



InsertNameHere said:

@eLarkos I think it'll help the Vita. Not only would you have Vita games and PS4 games via remote play, but you now have access to PS1, PS2, PSP(?) and PS3 games - that's basically 6 consoles for the price of 1.



Tasuki said:

Super excited about this news. I will gladly pay a monthly fee to be able to play the PS3 games I missed and to play the older PSone and PS2 games that I dont have anymore. The only thing is I am a little worried I was this excited for the Wii VC when it was announced thinking of all the games I could get but was sadly disappointed by that. I hope this doesn't turn out the same.

Anyone know how to sign up for the beta?



Punished_Boss_84 said:

Both: On one hand it could give Sony incentive to turn it into a stream/remote play, more so considering the boost PS4 gave it in sales although more options for PS Vita.

But its more bad than good in my mind.



get2sammyb said:

@Tasuki The way they refer to it as a 'Library of PlayStation Games' suggests to me that they want every game ever published on a PlayStation platform to be available. However, licensing issues and publishers that don't want to play ball may hamper its vision. We'll have to wait and see.



Voltaris said:

@get2sammyb What do you think about the possibility of PS4 titles towards the end of the consoles cycle that are Gaikai "stream only" since towards the end of the consoles life cycle PC's will be far ahead so maybe if they use purely the power of the servers game dev can make stunning titles without the ps4's hardware limitations after 5 years and bridge the console to PC gap.



Ginkgo said:

Still a long wait before this is fully functional around the world, but great news. Can't wait. So happy they are on track.

As I have said many times this is THE game changer. Interactive streaming! It will move beyond (no pun intended) backwards compatible streaming to PS4s, Vitas etc, there will be apps for iOS and Android etc, any Wifi display device, and I also believe it will more beyond just games into other media as well. People will come up with other uses for this tech. Just wait and see.



DoublezZ01 said:

So Proud of Sony on sticking to there word, they stick to there promises beyond better then my jobs promises of giving there employees a raise for there hard work!!! And the expected launch date is even crazier!!! Just be patient with Sony and they will deliver!!! I'm sure in due time this service and the console itself will far surpass satisfaction for everyone!!! Part of the reasone why i am glad i stick with them for my gamming needs!!! Especially my gundam gaming needs!!! XD lol



Bliquid said:

@JaxonH : no, of course not. They are going to maintain servers, develop software to enable a pletora of devices to run the service and give you access to a humongous catalogue of games like TLOU or GOW, which didn't cost a penny, for ABSOLUTELY FREE!



rastamadeus said:

PlayStation Meh until prices are sorted. Expext us to pay more than a quid or two to play a game we already own then, frankly, you can stick it up your ass. That goes for Nintendo and Microsoft too, when they inevitably copy it.

Provided costs aren't extortionate, internet can keep up with what's going on and the library of games this could be genuinely exciting.



Tasuki said:

@get2sammyb: That's exactly what I am worrying about. To me that hampered the Wii VC big time was licensing issues. Which prevented great games like Ducktales, Killer Instinct and more not to come to the Wii VC. The thing I am worried about is a game like the original Spyro trilogy. Will Activision let them be on the streaming service or will they want too much? Or will they be jerks about it and not release so that Skylanders can get the Spyro spotlight. I know that is kinda of a bad example since they have them on the PSN to buy but you can see where I am coming from. I am also assuming that what games are available on the PSN will be available to stream.

I know that they said a "Library for Playstation" games but to me that is what it sounded like Nintendo was saying about the VC back when the Wii was in development. But as you said Sammy we will have to wait and see.



Bad-MuthaAdebisi said:

I recently signed up to game rentals so if Sony can offer something better in the future then yes please.



Zombie_Barioth said:

They certainly could do that, but then why would they want to limit themselves to only those that subscribe to PS Now rather than have them plus the PS4 install base as potential customers?

I'm really curious about how this will affect the PS4's install base, I wanna see how its install base compares to the PS Now subscription numbers. That'll tell us how many people are opting to not buy a console vs those who wouldn't normally buy one.



JaxonH said:

Of course I'm an idiot for believing them when they said PS4 would have backwards compatibility with PS3 games. Which means, ya know, if you own the disc you can play the game. Stupid me.

I expected the backwards compatibility to be included with PS Plus, NOT a separate subscription fee. You can defend this all you want, but that doesn't justify nickle and diming ever waking service on the console. The PS3 managed to not charge for online, or for backward compatibility. Oh, they need to maintain servers? That's what the profits for each game is for. To pay for stuff like that. That's how 3rd parties do it. And that's how Sony USED to do it. And I distinctly remember everyone laughing at Xbox gamers for having to pay subscriptions. But now that Sony's doing it, everyone's REAL QUICK to defend them.

Like I said, Sony told us the PS4 would feature backwards compatibility. I just expected streaming of PS3 games to be included in Plus, since ya know, they're charging for online and all now. But not only are they NOT including it in Plus, they're not even giving backwards compatibility. Just more renting options. Pardon me if I'm not impressed.



get2sammyb said:

@JaxonH I don't think Sony ever said that PS4 would be backward compatible. The reason why it'll never offer technology like this for free is because it's going to cost a significant amount of money to run something like this. Imagine if you own a disc-based copy of Skyrim for PS3 (work with me here) and want to play it on PS4 via streaming. Let's say you play for 200 hours. That's 200 hours worth of streaming that you're expecting for free. The bandwidth bills associated with sending you that content would be astronomical. I know it's frustrating, but it'll never happen.

With regards to PS Plus, I do agree with your points. I suppose the hope is that it will use that additional revenue to ensure that PSN outages are less common, etc. I think the reason that people aren't up in arms about it is because PS Plus proved itself to be a valuable subscription anyway - most people already paid for it on PS3/Vita for the Instant Game Collection. I suppose you could say that Sony buttered us all up.



Gamer83 said:

No plans to get rid of my PS3 so this doesn't really sound like something that would be beneficial to sign up for.



eLarkos said:

Backwards compatibility in a console is a bonus, not a right. If you want to play ps3 games you already own for free then use a ps3.

I think its absolutely crazy that some people have any issue with this service or its subscription method. It seems like a great OPTIONAL service.



JaxonH said:

@eLarkos Correct. Except when, ya know, they tell you before you buy the console you'll be able to play PS3 games through streaming backward compatibility, then after you buy it say, well actually you can't do that. But you can pay to rent those games all over again. I sold my PS3. I was COUNTING on the ability to stream the games I already bought.



Bliquid said:

@JaxonH : i agree with some of the points you make, and i feel your frustration, but let's be honest: it would have been kinda naive to think this was gonna be free.
Because, besides the obvious implications of the costs of such a service, they would have said it first and foremost back at the PS4 presentation conference, since it would have been a huuuuge selling point.
I do wish it would at least recognize a PS3 game disc and deliver a fair discount but, you know, i'll stick to my beloved PS3 and move on.



JaxonH said:

I didn't think it would be free, but I thought they'd make it a PS Plus feature ya know.

Backwards compatibility has been the norm for a long time. All Nintendo consoles play games from the generation prior, including their handheld gaming devices. And up until now, all Sony consoles played games from the generation prior (or at least had a model available which could do so). If I recall, I think even the Xbox 360 could play Xbox games. Emulation packets were distributed through Xbox Live for gamers to install...

So when they started talking about the 8th generation consoles, I naturally expected the PS4 to play PS3 games. When Sony announced the console would in fact not be able to play PS3 discs, I was apprehensive because backwards compatibility is such a major selling point for me. I buy the new console, I sell the old one, and I play last gen games on the new console. That's how I've always done it.

But then they announced that PS3 games could be played through a streaming service sometime in 2014. I think we all were under the impression we were going to be able to pop in the game to verify ownership, and then have the game streamed. I know it costs them to run a service like that, but, I figured it was the cheaper option for them rather than building the PS4 with ACTUAL backwards compatibility, which at least I have come to expect in a console. I figured well, they're penny pinching on the BC, but if this works, it'll do.

I was also prepared for the streaming of PS3 games to be part of a subscription based account, but I wasn't anticipating a separate subscription service aside from PS Plus. With that said, I totally get what they're offering here. It sounds great for what it is. My only problem with it, is it wasn't what I wanted, and it wasn't what I was led to believe I would be getting. I wanted the Christmas ham I was promised. I'm sure this is a terrific turkey and all, but I don't want turkey. I want my ham, know what I mean?

I've never been a fan of PS Plus, and I was already kind of ticked off about online multiplayer being taken away (for me it really is taken away because I'm stubborn and I refuse to pay for that service), but I figured once they added the ability to play streamed PS3 games that I own a disc of copy of, I'd have an excuse to go ahead and jump in to PS Plus. That way I'd get my online and my backward compatibility. I was able to justify that in my mind. But now, now I don't know what to think. Now I'm looking at two separate services I'm not willing to pay for, instead of one service I would have been willing to finally jump in to.

Idk, it is what it is I guess.





I fully agree that it WOULD BE NICE to be able to play content previously purchased for a different system via this new streaming service, but that's about it.

As for "they're penny pinching on the BC", dude - get real, it's totally different architecture. They would need to install PS3 chipsets in to the PS4 to make it work, there's no way even the PS4 could emulate the Cell processor. So your £350 PS4 now costs closer to £500 for the sake of playing PS3 games on it.

Drop the sense of entitlement. No one told you (or me) to sell our PS3s. There was also no detail until now regarding the streaming service, and out of the box BC hasn't always been available- it's a relatively recent perk of console gaming.

As publicised all over, this generation is based largely on connectivity, social interactions and following trends such as free to play and continuing subscription models. There's been plenty of available information before you made your purchase (and sold your PS3), so I'm not getting why you're so sore.

PS Plus is the best content deal after Steam, whether you have PS3, PS4 or Vita, much the better if you have several. I have more games in the IGC than I have time to play, for a pretty paltry cost.

If you really don't like the idea of a subscription, well, I guess PS3s are cheaper than ever...



Gamer83 said:

Sony never actually promised anything. It said you could stream PS3 games, that was that. When it was announced that I couldn't bring over all the digital games I purchased on PS3 that told me everything I needed to know about this generation's 'backwards compatibility' so I kept my PS3. This is a service I'm very much on the fence about. It could be great like PS Plus or it could suck. I'm definitely concerned with what the selection will be. The Virtual Console started strong but became a complete joke around 2009, this could very well be the same deal with PS Now, only you have to pay a subscription fee. I will definitely hold off, I see potential here but will it be realized? Not so sure, I hope it is but it's up to Sony. Price and selection will play a big role.



Alpha said:

Ok i have a question, i see it says PS3 up there, so does that mean you wont be able to buy any PSone classics or ps2 classics anymore? im confused on what they could stream to the PS3, why not just buy it?

or are they gonna make it so if you dont want to buy but just stream more for your money thats what they will do? like if you dont want to buy the last of us but do want to play it you can, or if you want to buy it you can?




@Alpha Interesting question. I suppose Sony could do whatever they like with first party games, but some publishers may not want their games streamed rather than bought.

Given that a lot of big games made it to Onlive, and Sony's good relations with a lot of publishers (based in the PS+ ICS and discounts) I think a lot of publishers would want (their games) to be a part of the action.

Whether or not PS3s will be streaming PS3 games or not, I think so. For the model to work it's going to have to be one subscription-perhaps with tiers to stream to multiple devices. Locking out a portion of the library depending on your system/device would be a bad move.



JaxonH said:

I'm entitled to whatever I feel I should get for my money. This is a product for sale. If I feel I should get something for my money, that's up to me and me alone to decide. I wasn't thinking it'd stream PS3 games for no reason. The way Sony worded it did make it sound like it was going to be a service offered in place of backwards compatibility.

I'm not as sore as you think I am, but it is disappointing.

PS Plus is great for you, great for others, not great for me. And yes, looks like I'll be buying a PS3 now.





Buying on your own assumption doesn't make you entitled to something not promised.

Sony stated that there would be Gaiki based streaming in the future. No other detail than that. Perhaps licenses for PS3 purchased content will be honoured, but again, that's never been promised-and it's a pretty big leap to assume that's what they intend to do based on the previous keynotes from E3 and the PS meeting.



eLarkos said:

@JaxonH not to nit-pick because I do understand your argument but i think its worth mentioning, the only nintendo home consoles to have backwards compatibility are wii and wii u. And the only sony console was PS2 except a few ps3 release units. Backwards compatibility is certainly not the norm you make it out to be.





Well, 'all' PSOne games should work on all PS3s, and the whole first run of NTSC(J) 60GB PS3s had PS2 chipsets so would run (theoretically) all PS2 games. Later launch PS3s (EU 60GB) had PS2 emulators built in to the firmware which ran most PS2 games, I used to have trouble with Castle Shikigami 2, but everything else I had still worked.



eLarkos said:

@KALofKRYPTON True, forgot about ps1 games running on ps3. As for the rest of your post, thats pretty much what i meant. First batch ps3s only.



JaxonH said:

Well said. Already bought it though.

However, just because there are some things I'm not pleased with concerning PS4, that doesn't mean I don't like the console and all the good things done right. I mean, I don't like Nintendo's poor VC selection or their hardware-tied accounts, but that doesn't make me want to sell my Wii U.

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